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Personal Details

Designation : Assistant Professor Department : Earth and Environmental Sciences E-Mail : dhanya@iiserb.ac.in Phone : +91 755 269 1379, 669 1379 Fax :



Academic Details


  • Assistant Professor (November 2016 - present) at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Bhopal, India.
  • Research Scientist II (April 2016 - September 2016) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) USA, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
    Main Task: Regional Inverse Modeling in North and South America
  • Post-doctoral Researcher (May 2015 - March 2016) at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany
    Main Task: Application of satellite greenhouse measurements (column-integrated mixing ratios) on deriving their sources and sinks
  • Post-doctoral Researcher (November 2011- April 2015) at the Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP), University of Bremen, Germany
    Main Task: Application of satellite measurements of greenhouse gases (column-integrated mixing ratios) in the atmospheric inverse modeling framework
  • Post-doctoral Fellow (July 2011 - October 2011) at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany
    Main Task: Atmospheric Measurement Network Design in Europe as part of Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS)
  • PhD research position (January 2007 - June 2011) at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany
    Main task: Mesoscale simulations and inversions of CO2 using tower and airborne observations

Honors and Awards


  • Doctoral grant from the Max Planck Society, Germany, for carrying out independent research, 2007
  • Advanced Study Program (NCAR, Boulder, USA) - Colloquia grant, 2007
  • Junior Research Fellowship from the Indian Space Research Organization, 2006
  • Research Fellowship from the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory, 2005
  • Top student (merit based) prize - M.Sc. Physics (Women's Christian College), 2003

    Research Statement


    • Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) responsible for the global warming. Hence a particular focus of any climate policy initiatives is to implement efficient strategies for limiting the GHG emissions to a level that minimizes the adverse anthropogenic effect on the climate system. An essential component to achieve this objective is the accurate quantification of sources and sinks of these gases.

      My research approach is to effectively utilize the atmospheric GHG measurements to derive their regional sources and sinks at spatial scales relevant for policy-makers. This requires the use of realistic atmospheric transport models in combination with biospheric models and an inverse modeling technique. The above-mentioned measurements are carried out around the world by a number of different observation platforms. In recent years, satellite instruments have been effectively enhanced with their spatiotemporal sampling and precision strategies.

      This group is established with an aim of applying the numerical modeling tools and utilizing the observations in order to understand the biosphere-atmosphere exchange of carbon. The group is actively involved in implementing and developing modeling tools and techniques to extract much information from the atmospheric observations at the required spatiotemporal scales.

    Research Focus


    • High-resolution simulations and inversions of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG)
    • Utilization trace gas measurements in inverse modelling to better estimate sources and sinks of these gases

    Research Interests


    • Utilize ground-based, airborne and remote sensing data in an inverse modeling framework to derive the regional distribution of sources and sinks of GHGs
    • Perform regional carbon budgeting of potentially important regions
    • Characterize uncertainties in the transport models that are used to derive surface fluxes
    • Explore interactions between global carbon cycle and climate system

    Research Activities



    • One of the important aspects of my research activities is to implement and further develop a high-resolution inversion framework to quantify GHG (mainly CO2 and CH4 ) sources and sinks that are consistent with atmospheric observations. Towards this, both Eulerian and Lagrangian models are being used as the core components of the modeling framework. The current work is focussed on the Indian subcontinent, a critically important but under-sampled region.

      Presently I am working on generating high-resolution simulations of GHG over India, which will be used for a wide range of climate-related studies. These data products are further used for designing optimum measurement network over India.

      I am also working on validating the forward simulations with an objective to improve the atmospheric transport models and characterize their uncertainties. A key step towards these efforts is to identify and utilize the observational capabilities of these gases. A wide range of data streams (including remote sensing data) and their analysis are involved in this process.

      The above-said validations would enable these simulations to meet the standards that can be used with high degree of certainty for applications across a broad range of sectors including regional carbon budgeting. In an effort to derive regional distribution of sources and sinks of important GHGs, I am also involved in developing significant strategies for incorporating these observations in an Bayesian inverse modeling framework, taking into account measurement and model errors.

    Journals


    • Pillai, D., Buchwitz, M., Gerbig, C., Koch, T., Reuter, M., Bovensmann, H., Marshall, J., and Burrows, J. P.: Tracking city CO2 emissions from space using a high resolution inverse modeling approach: A case study for Berlin, Germany, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 9591–9610, doi:10.5194/acp-16-9591-2016 (IF: 5.053)
    • Reuter, M., Buchwitz, M., Hilker, M., Heymann, J., Schneising, O., Pillai, D., Bovensmann, H., Burrows, J. P., Bösch, H., Parker, R., Butz, A., Hasekamp, O., O'Dell, C. W., Yoshida, Y., Gerbig, C., Nehrkorn, T., Deutscher, N. M., Warneke, T., Notholt, J., Hase, F., Kivi, R., Sussmann, R., Machida, T., Matsueda, H., and Sawa, Y.: Satellite-inferred European carbon sink larger than expected, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 14, 21829-21863, doi:10.5194/acpd-14-21829-2014, 2014. (IF: 5.29)
    • Buchwitz, M., Reuter, M., Bovensmann, H., Pillai, D., Heymann, J. et al.,: Carbon Monitoring Satellite (CarbonSat): assessment of atmospheric CO2 and CH4 retrieval errors by error parameterization, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 3477-3500, doi:10.5194/amt-6-3477-2013, 2013. (IF: 3.21)
    • Buchwitz, M., Reuter, M., Bovensmann, H., Pillai, D., Heymann, J., Schneising, O., Rozanov, V.,Krings, T.,Burrows, J.P., Boesch,H.,Gerbig, C., Meijer, Y., and Loescher, A.: Carbon Monitoring Satellite (CarbonSat): assessment of scattering related atmospheric CO2 and CH4 retrieval errors and first results on implications for inferring city CO2 emissions, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., 6, 2013. (IF: 3.21)
    • Pillai, D., Gerbig, C., Kretschmer, R., Beck, V., Karstens, U., Neininger, B., and Heimann, M.: Comparing Lagrangian and Eulerian models for CO2 transport – a step towards Bayesian inverse modeling using WRF/STILT-VPRM, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 8979-8991, doi:10.5194/acp-12-8979-2012, 2012. (IF: 5.51)
    • Pillai, D., Gerbig, C., Ahmadov, R., Rödenbeck, C., Kretschmer, R., Koch, T., Thompson, R., Neininger, B., and Lavrié, J. V.: High-resolution simulations of atmospheric CO2 over complex terrain – representing the Ochsenkopf mountain tall tower, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 7445- 7464, doi:10.5194/acp-11-7445-2011, 2011. (IF: 5.52)
    • Pillai, D.: Mesoscale simulations and inversions of atmospheric CO2 using airborne and groundbased data, Max-Planck-Institut of Biogeochemie, 22, pp.171, 2011.
    • Beck, V., Koch, T., Kretschmer, R., Marshall, J., Ahmadov, R., Gerbig, C., Pillai, D. and Heimann, M.: The WRF Greenhouse Gas Model, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, 25, Jena, Germany, 2011.
    • Pillai, D., Gerbig, C., Marshall, J., Ahmadov, R., Kretschmer, R., Koch, T., and Karstens, U.: High resolution modeling of CO2 over Europe: implications for representation errors of satellite retrievals, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 83-94, doi:10.5194/acp-10-83-2010, 2010. (IF: 5.31)
    • Scientific and Technical Reports (to European Space Agency ESA)

      Chimot, J., Breon, F., Pillai,D., Buchwitz, M., Bovensmann, H., Reuter, M., Broquet, G., Renault, E., Peyret, C., Vinuesa., J: LOGOFLUX - CarbonSat Earth Explorer 8 Candidate Mission Inverse Modelling and Mission Performance Study, Technical Note 8, European Space Agency (ESA), 400010537/12/NL/CO, 2013.

    Conference publications


    • Inferring Source and Sink of Atmospheric CO2 at High-resolution from Space: a Mesoscale Modeling Approach using Inverse Technique, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 15, 2013
    • Towards Top-down Constraints on Regional Sources and Sinks of CO2 Imposed by Column Observations: a High-resolution Inverse Modeling Approach, American Geophysical Union, abstract A33F-0241, 2015
    • Estimating the Regional CO2 Budget Using Observational Constraints From Flux And Mixing-ratio Measurements, American Geophysical Union, abstract A31B-0067, 2011
    • Scaling C fluxes from point to region using observational constraints from flux and mixing ratio measurements, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 10, 2008
    • High Resolution CO2 Simulations: Scaling C- fluxes From Point to Region, American Geophysical Union, abstract A33B-0228, 2008

October 14-15, 2015

Greenhouse gas budgets from atmospheric fingerprints: High-resolution forward and inverse modeling technique combining measurements and simulations, Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (CAOS), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, October 14-15, 2015

June 24-26, 2014

Tracking Major City Emissions of CO2 from Space: a high resolution inverse modeling approach, Transcom meeting, University of Groningen, Netherlands, June 24-26, 2014

April 24, 2014

CarbonSat Earth Explorer 8 Candidate Mission (LOGOFLUX Study) – Inverse Modelling and Mission Performance - Local Performance Assessment, European Space Agency (ESA) meeting, Bremen, Germany, April 24, 2014

November 8, 2013

Inferring city CO2 emissions from space – Berlin City Emissions, WRF Users Workshop, IASS Potsdam, November 8, 2013

April 7-12, 2013

Inferring Source and Sink of Atmospheric CO2 at High-resolution from Space: a Mesoscale Modeling Approach using Inverse Technique, EGU General Assembly 2013,Vienna, Austria, April 7-12, 2013

July 14-22, 2012

A Mesoscale Modeling Approach using Inverse Technique, COSPAR Assembly -2012, Mysore, India, July 14-22, 2012

December 5-9, 2011

Estimating the Regional CO2 Budget Using Observational Constraints From Flux And Mixing ratio Measurements, AGU Fall meeting, San Francisco, December 5-9, 2011

October 10-14, 2011

Towards regional carbon budgeting using WRF/STILT-VPRM: A comparison of Lagrangian and Eulerian models for atmospheric CO2 transport, AGU Chapman Conference on Advances in Lagrangian Modeling of the Atmosphere, Grindelwald, Switzerland, October 10-14, 2011

January 17-20, 2011

Tightening Atmospheric Constraints on GHG budgets (Chorus talk with Christoph Gerbig), Max Planck Institute Retreat 2011, Oberhof, Germany, January 17-20, 2011

May 24, 2011

Mesoscale simulations of atmospheric CO2: Can we represent measurements over complex terrain?(Invited talk),Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India, May 24, 2011

March 10, 2011

High-resolution modeling of atmospheric CO2: a top-down approach (Invited talk), IUP, University of Bremen, Germany, March 10, 2011

December 3, 2010

Mesoscale Simulations and Inversions of Atmospheric CO2 using airborne and ground based data, MPI-BGC-Systems Department Retreat, Jena, Germany, December 3, 2010

2-5 November 2009

Airborne trace gas measurements and mesoscale modeling: High resolution modeling of CO2 over Europe: implications for representation errors of satellite retrievals, Max Planck Institute's Retreat 2009, Bad Sulza, Germany, 2 - 5 November 2009

September 13-19, 2009

High resolution modeling of CO2 over Europe: Implications for remote sensing, 8-th International Carbon Dioxide Conference (ICDC08), Jena, Germany, September 13-19, 2009

September 13-19, 2009

Regional CO2 Modeling: Evaluation of models with tower measurements, 8th International Carbon Dioxide Conference (ICDC08), Jena, Germany, September 13-19, 2009

December 15-19, 2008

High Resolution CO2 Simulations: Scaling C- fluxes From Point to Region, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, USA, December 15-19, 2008

September 29-3 October 2008

Accounting for Small scale Variability on Regional Flux Estimates: An Inverse Technique Approach, 6th Annual CarboEurope-IP Meeting, Jena, Germany, September 29 - 3 October 2008

June 16-19, 2008

Airborne trace gas measurements and mesoscale modeling: Mesoscale transport of CO2 by Lagrangian model framework WRF-STILT-VPRM, Max Planck Institute's Retreat 2008, Suhl, Germany, June 16-19, 2008

June 2-5, 2008

Mesoscale transport of CO2 by Lagrangian model framework WRF-STILT-VPRM, Transom workshop program, Utrecht, Netherlands, June 2-5, 2008

13-18 April 2008

Scaling C fluxes from point to region using observational constraints from flux and mixing ratio measurements, European Geophysical Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, 13 - 18 April 2008

January 10-11, 2008

Assessment of modeling and observational tools - Linking point measurements with models, MPI-BGC-Systems Department Retreat, Erfurt, Germany, January 10-11, 2008

1 November 2007

Mesoscale Simulations for the Ochsenkopf tall tower: combining WRF with MODIS data, University Colloquium, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany, 1 November 2007

3-15 June 2007

Mesoscale Simulations and Inversions of Atmospheric CO2 using airborne and ground based data: Plans for Implementing WRF-VPRM-STILT Modeling Framework, Advanced Study Program summer colloquium, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, USA, 3-15 June 2007

February 12.-14, 2007

Mesoscale simulations and inversions using tall tower data: plans for implementing the WRF-VPRM-STILT modeling framework, Max Planck Institute Retreat, Oberhof, Germany, February 12.-14, 2007

    Group


    • The main interest of this group is to explore the usability of atmospheric measurements of important greenhouse gases in conjunction with numerical models and Bayesian inverse technique to derive the regional sources and sinks of GHGs. This quantitative understanding is important to interpret, assess or manage the long-term changes in the carbon cycle.

      The group mainly targets our research on establishing a data driven modeling approach to the Indian subcontinent, where a lack of knowledge currently limits the predictability of coupled biogeochemical cycle ̶ climate interactions and future climate. One of our critical research topics is about monitoring emission hotspots in India (e.g. cities) in the context of rapidly increasing anthropogenic emissions and their impact on climate.

      It follows that the group is involved in analyzing and utilizing a wide range of data streams of atmospheric GHG observations including satellite measurements (e.g. GOSAT, OCO-2). Most of our investigations are based on both Eulerian (e.g. WRF) and Lagrangian (e.g. STILT) models which are being used as the core components of the inverse modeling framework. More information on modeling tools are given here. The ultimate goal of the group is to provide reliable, independent, and observational based GHG source-sink estimates for a critically important region in terms of carbon cycle science.

      The group is in active collaboration with MPI-BGC (Dr. Christoph Gerbig, Dr. Julia Marshall, and Prof. Dr. Martin Heimann) and NOAA (Dr. Arlyn Andrews and Dr. Pieter Tans). The other collaborations of the group are CarbonSat Team and Dr. Thomas Nehrkorn, AER, USA.

      Join the team

      Since we are on the active phase of expansion, the group welcomes applications from interested and enthusiastic individuals to pursue Ph.D. and Post-Doc. Candidates who have excellent academic background either in Physics, Mathematics, Environmental Sciences, or Meteorology are encouraged to join our team. Candidates should have good knowledge/interest (for all candidates) and experience (for Post-Doc candidates) in at least one of the following fields: physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, remote sensing of the Earth system, numerical modeling and data-analysis. The successful candidates will be able to work closely with a team of national and international scientists on a multi-disciplinary aspects of the Earth System Science. They will be able to demonstrate their work on various national and international conferences.

      Highly motivated candidates with CSIR-UGC JRF would be preferred for Ph.D. positions. Also interested candidates, who have their own fellowships (e.g. INSPIRE Faculty, DST-Young Scientist, CSIR, UGC Post-doc, SERB etc.) are preferred for Post-Doc positions.

      If interested, please contact dhanya[AT]iiserb.ac.in